In a shocking turn of events, after the Pittsburgh Riverhounds won their first game of the season over Toronto FC II, 2-1, at Highmark Stadium, the team’s head coach, and United Soccer League Hall of Famer, Mark Steffens announced that he was relieved of his coaching duties prior to Saturday’s game.
After taking a few questions about the win, Steffens was asked about finally getting a win after a difficult start to the season.
“It’s a pretty tough day for me — this was my last game coaching the Riverhounds. I was told that yesterday by the organization I was being let go,” said an emotional Steffens.
“It’s bittersweet. I’m going to get pretty emotional here. I love my players.”“We didn’t start off well. I have no hard feelings toward (Riverhounds owner) Tuffy (Shallenberger). Good people here.”“I wish I could be here for a lot longer. I wasn’t going to tell the players. But found out that a couple knew, so I went to the team prior to the game — and it was emotional.”
“At halftime, I thought, he we go again,” said Steffens.“We were really possessing the ball, but still couldn’t find quality shots on goal.”
“World class goal by Lebo,” said Steffens.
“Never expected that after Lebo scored the goal that he would come over,” said Steffens.
“That was special moment to be able to share that.”
“You can see how much it meant to the boys — to go out and win — and when Lebo scored – how the boys reacted,” said Kerr.
“It was much more than winning a game.”
Pittsburgh Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger and head coach Mark Steffens have mutually agreed to part ways.
“We appreciate what Mark has done in his time with the club,” Shallenberger said.“You never like to see things of this nature happen, but we both agreed this was the best decision for the club’s future. We wish Mark the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
Assistant coach Josh Rife will also be let go, but there is no word on who the next coach will be, and if it will be an interim or permanent hire, although an announcement is expected by the end of the weekend.
Steffens offered some final words as he concluded his press conference with both assistant coaches, Rife and Niko Katic at his side.
“We got off to a bad start. I am not blaming anybody. That’s professional sports,” added Steffens.
“I’d like to thank everyone in the organization — thank you. And everyone here in Pittsburgh for your support.”
Pittsburgh Soccer Report’s John Krysinsky will have more from tonight’s game and follow up in the coming days.